Atlanta Daily World
Wayans. The mere mention of the name likely brings to mind the talented siblings who took Hollywood by storm in the 1990’s and successfully created a dynasty that traversed the decade and reigns to this day. Determined to carry the torch, the latest generation of Wayans is working hard to earn their rightful place on the throne.
Says Damien, “There was always a misconception of what it’s like being a Wayans or a second generation Wayans. A lot of people thought we were just born into money and it was like—nope—it was a tough road, a tough journey.” But the Wayans are nothing if not tough. The new kids on the Wayans family block have taken the popular misconception of a cookie cutter lifestyle and capitalized on it, resulting in the launch of BET’s Second Generation Wayans show.
“You know, me and my cousin Craig [who co stars in the show] were project kids, project bred—we were not born with a silver spoon in our mouths,” Damien reveals. People look at you in a good light sometimes and people look at you in a negative light sometimes. Because you are a Wayans, they expect you to be [like] your family at times. We’re trying to carve our own name and ground ourselves, like our uncles grounded themselves.”
In keeping with family tradition Marlon Wayans, Damien’s uncle, is one of the executive producers for Second Generation Wayans. The show, which Damien says is largely based on real life experiences, reflects years of the ups and downs, successes and failures which he and the younger Wayans have experienced while trying to break into showbiz. Because ‘elders’ Shawn, Keenen, and Marlon have frequently appeared in the spotlight, the assumption is that the entire Wayans family is solidly linked into the film industry. With Second Generation Wayans Damien, his cousin Craig, and Uncle Marlon wanted to dispel that notion and portray the true path which the younger generation has taken.
“Hollywood is a very fickle town,” explains Damien. “It’s a very ‘What have you done today?’ type of town especially now a days. They’re not making certain types of movies like they used to. Sometimes you feel like Hollywood is its own clique, so that’s why I’m happy I got my clique—my Wayans clique!”
Underneath it all is the rocky, albeit quirky, and genuine love that is the glue that bonds the Wayans together.
“It’s always fun being able to do what you love, and my family is my best friend; so throughout the years that I’ve been working with family it has kind of become second nature. You know, we have our arguments; we have our disagreements, but at the core of it all we are family, and we love to have fun with each other.”
Outside of the show when he’s not working out at a spin class, or chowing down on some Crazy Rocking Sushi on Santa Monica Boulevard, he’s writing and working on projects for his production company. In addition to developing a movie, he’s also directing a six part You Tube web series called That’s a Friend. The series is designed to make viewers beg the question “Is my friend really ride or die?”
“It’s about putting your friend to the ultimate test,” says Damien. “So if you’ve ever wondered, ‘How ride or die would my friend really be in a time of need?’ we take scenarios and we see how ride or die that friend really is.”
The multifaceted Damien Wayans is slowly proving his staying power in this industry, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that he is indeed a ride or die Wayans.
by Chelsea Battle, Special to the NNPA from the LA Watts Times
(Photo: Damien Wayans (left) Craig Wayans (right))
Vanessa Lynn’s “Boss Lady” is more than a play, it’s an experience.
After viewing “Boss Lady” at its premier on April 13 at the Midtown Arts Cinema it left me inspired, cleansed, rejuvenated and so much more.
In the play viewers not only learn what a “Boss Lady” is but will be taken on a ride on the road to becoming a “Boss Lady” and go down all its many twists and turns, its highs and its lows.
Boss lady is also a tale of a woman who is on a mission to becoming more than a music mogul; she has her mind set on becoming nothing less than a “Boss”.
Essentially, the play depicts the lives of everyday Black issues in the inner city and Lynn illustrates the struggles that come with that environment very passionately and without any room to question her authority on the subject.
Drugs, death, greed, money, hustling, success, failures, love, conviction, forgiveness and even the gospel are all discussed in such a way that it leaves the viewers entertained and emotional.
The play had so many twists and turns that when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did and when you thought the story was told, there was more to it—lots more.
I must commend Vanessa Lynn for having the guts to write such a play as she can definitely help other urban play writers carry the torch that was left behind by Tyler Perry who has shifted his sights to films.
As a viewer one can tell she put her heart in every line because, from one heart to another, it is very hard not to connect with each of the characters and the truth of the story.
Additionally, the cast members did a phenomenal job of breathing life into the characters they played, the story they told and the message they portrayed.
The cast’s amazing performances show that they believed in the story and they knew how powerful its message is.
Anyone looking to support urban playwrights like Lynn who are looking to change the way the “chitlin’ circuit” – which she describes in detail in her book ‘Beyond the Chitlin’ Circuit: The Urban Playwrights Guide’ – is perceived and work hard to bring black stories to the stage, I highly recommend “Boss Lady”.
However, be warned you will are not watching a mere play, you are watching a play with a purpose and the experience is indeed mind blowing and definitely life changing.
Presented by Myx lounge, Monday’s “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” season two press reception was an exclusive premiere for members of the press to meet the LHHATL cast and to preview the show to give viewers an idea of what’s to come in the upcoming season. Season two premieres April 22.
One thing viewers should know is that if LHHATL delivered last year it will definitely bring the drama in season two and the event was indicative of that.
All of the cast members of the show were at the Creme Ultra Lounge premiere including new cast members Traci Steele and DJ Babey Drew who are both DJs and radio personalities at Hot 107.9. However, Lil Scrappy, K. Michelle and Karlie Redd were all no shows.
When asked where the missing members were the cast was quick to respond, “You will have to see the show to find out why they are not here.”
Nonetheless, the drama did not stick to the script. Even the drama that viewers witness on the show, with Stevie J, Mimi and Joseline, was brought to the event as it was evident that Mimi and Joseline had no problem showing their disregard for one another.
And just like in the show, Stevie J appeared to feed off of the feuding and proceeded to pay Mimi a compliment on her shoes to which she responded, “Whatever, [expletive]. Just keep them checks coming [expletive].”
Mona Scott-Young, the mastermind behind the “Love and Hip Hop” series, which is in its third season, was at Monday night’s event in a non-dramatic fashion. As one of the show’s executive producers, Scott-Young took to the VIP area to greet her LHHATL crew and to welcome the crowd.
After Scott-Young’s introduction came the preview of episode one of season twos’ LHHATL and below is a breakdown of what is to come:
The show picks up after last year when Scrappy proposes to Erica and shows Shay’s response to the proposal. Season two attempts to shed more light on the feelings that Shay is trying to come to terms with, as it relates to her love and friendship with Lil Scrappy. She ultimately seeks counsel from Momma Dee, who supports her and her feelings for Scrappy.
Although Scrappy was a no-show for the event, he was a constant factor between Erica and Shay who wanted to share more on the issue but ended their nearly volatile debate with “watch the show to see what happens.”
But it was clear that Shay had some dealings with Scrappy since the proposal and all of that would be exposed in the upcoming season.
In response to the back and forth between Shay and Erica, Momma Dee, who was fiercely dressed and one to watch during the event, was not hesitant to share with the press that she was a “mother first and would do anything to protect her son.”
Benzino helped to kick off the first episode and makes his contribution to the Joseline and Stevie J drama. Although there was not much time dedicated to him in the first episode, his appearance was significant and helped fuel more drama in the pair that viewers can’t seem to get enough of.
K Michelle, who was not present at the event was debuted on the first episode and definitely gives viewers a dramatic update on her life since the last season. She does all but shut a spot down when attempting to resolve an issue that took place after season one ended.
Although only a few of the cast members were featured in the episode, it made the second episode a must see.
Season two will give viewers more insight on what happened after the reunion, what happened as a result of the popularity of the show and the events that occurred while taping the show. Big events such as Kirk and Rasheeda’s pregnancy are in store. (Rasheeda looked very pregnant on Monday, by the way.) All those details and many more will give viewers much to tune into on April 22 at 8 p.m. ET on VH1.
“Watch it,” said Mona Young-Scott about season two. “We didn’t know there was going to be a season two but there is and we out did ourselves.”